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a swimmer’s tale

My name is Sam Hynds. I was born in 1991 and I live in Ravenhill, Swansea. I’m currently swimming with the Swansea Performance team. I competed in the Beijing Paralympic Games. I won a gold and a bronze medal with two World and European records.

Because of my disability, I couldn’t run around a football pitch or play rugby or any contact sports like that, because my leg just hurt too much, so swimming was the perfect sport for me. It’s probably the competitiveness I enjoy.

Beijing, it’s the furthest I’ve ever really been and it was a wonderful country. There were so many things going off and there were lights everywhere. They put on a really good show.

My personal trainer is my coach, Billy Pye. I train nine times a week. Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday morning, we get up at five o’clock, in the pool for six. I train every evening, twice in the gym, once on a Tuesday and once on a Thursday and, as we go into a competition, we start training less and less, so then, that way, you are a bit more rested. Then, you’ll be feeling really fresh and you can swim fast.

You need a lot of protein, carbohydrates, so you want pasta, jacket potato, a lot of meat, steaks, anything you can get your hands on. As long as it’s not McDonalds, it doesn’t really matter. As long as you eat healthy, you eat well, and you get lots of rest, then you’re good to go.

You just want to get in there and do your best. Every Paralympic Games, people get better and better and better. The touch between the races gets so small that it just gets harder and harder to win, so all you’ve got to do is keep getting better and better.

I trained really hard for the gold medal in Beijing. I’d broken the world record the year before about five times, so I knew I could do it. It was just a matter of doing it on the day, and, then, when I touched, it was getting up all those mornings so early, it made it all worth it. I’ll always remember that for the rest of my life.

Looking back at the Beijing Paralympic Games, the majority of the medals came back to Swansea Performance, so with the way we’re all swimming at the moment, I’ve no doubt that it’s going to be the same and better in London.

Looking into London 2012, I want to win gold in the 400 freestyle and retain the title from Beijing and get as many medals as possible and have the best time of my life.

It’s a home Games. It’s never going to happen again, so just do my best.

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